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DOT: Don’t Turn Halloween Into a Nightmare by Driving Drunk

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Halloween Car“Halloween is scary enough — keep it safe by driving sober,” as a recent post on U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s blog, FastLane, says. LaHood cautions it is “a particularly deadly night due to the number of drunk drivers on our roads.”

Secretary LaHood writes:

According to NHTSA, in 2010, 41 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, making them legally drunk in most states.

That’s why this Halloween, state and local law enforcement officials across the country will be out in full force cracking down on drunk drivers with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort.

As part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Halloween Drunk Driving Prevention awareness campaign, which runs through Nov. 4, the agency is providing a wide range of safety materials — including videos, posters, and social media icons — to states, communities, and organizations, LaHood reports.

In Colorado, the Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the State Patrol (CSP) are conducting their Halloween “Heat is On” DUI enforcement through 3 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, as CDOT reports. Last year, the CSP and 95 law enforcement agencies across the state made 447 DUI arrests during the same crackdown.

LaHood offers the following tips for keeping Halloween safe:

  • Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver.
  • If you’re impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation so you are sure to get home safely.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
  • And if you know someone who is about to drive a car or ride a motorcycle while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

Communities across the country might want to do what one Nebraska group is doing to prevent drunk driving around Halloween. Great Adventure Ministries arranged for one downtown Omaha venue (at 1314 Jones St.) to give drinkers free pancakes and bacon, with donated food supplies, as reports. The food is served in what describes as a “cool, urban basement complete with brick walls and contemporary furniture.” writes:

[Chad] Peterson [director of Great Adventure Ministries] said people tend to look at the pancake offer with skepticism at first. ‘What’s the catch? Nothing’s free in life,’ he said. ‘And they walk down into this basement and they start making some friends and they see it’s really just pancakes and bacon.’ The pancake batter — donated by Village Inn, Twin Creek, and the bacon — donated by Hormel.

The pancakes give the would-be drivers more time to sober up, and there is also a trolley that can take people back to their cars afterwards. Last year, 167 people availed themselves of the free Halloween pancake offer.

Image by L. Marie (Lenore Edman).


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